How many peo­ple could live there?

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Jane would pitch a tent on the grass of Cas­tor Cres if she could.

The Porirua woman, who did not want her last name used, said she felt fu­ri­ous ev­ery time she looked at the empty land just over her fence in Can­nons Creek.

‘‘How many peo­ple could live on that? Even if they made it a camp­ing ground, it would be bet­ter than it is now.’’

What it is now is a hectare of flat land in Porirua’s east, empty since 2009 when Hous­ing New Zealand bowled the 27 age­ing and earth­quake-prone state houses that stood there.

On Satur­day night, the land be­came a camp­ing ground as lo­cals pitched tents in protest at what they said was a glar­ing hole in their neigh­bour­hood.

Or­gan­iser Matt Craw­shaw said the de­mo­li­tion of the state homes had ‘‘hol­lowed out the com­mu­nity’’.

‘‘It’s been eight years of noth­ing since those houses came down, and the com­mu­nity wants some­thing to hap­pen.’’

He said the camp-out was just the be­gin­ning of a move to rally Can­nons Creek res­i­dents to push for ac­tion.

Hous­ing NZ spokesman Pa­trick Dougherty, asked about plans for the area, said: ‘‘Hous­ing New Zealand is in­ves­ti­gat­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment of new so­cial hous­ing in this com­mu­nity.

‘‘De­tails of these plans are yet to be fi­nalised and we will be shar­ing these plans with the wider com­mu­nity and other stake­hold­ers for their feed­back once they are fur­ther de­vel­oped later this year.

‘‘These plans are be­ing formed to re­spond to re­cent changes in de­mand for so­cial hous­ing in the com­mu­nity.’’

The MP for Mana, Labour’s Kris Faafoi, said the land should be hous­ing New Zealan­ders, and he had cam­paigned for five years to get homes built.

‘‘Porirua has a huge need for so­cial hous­ing and it’s in­cred­i­ble noth­ing has been done here.’’

On Tues­day, Labour leader An­drew Lit­tle vis­ited the site and pledged his party would build af­ford­able or state homes if it were elected in Septem­ber.

In 2012, pri­vate and so­cial hous­ing providers were given the op­por­tu­nity to ten­der for the land – which had re­source con­sent for 15 homes – but no ten­ders were re­ceived.

Peo­ple camped out to de­mand homes be built on Hous­ing New Zealand land that has stood empty for eight years.

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